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How to Choose the Colors of Your Wardrobe

Building a Wardrobe
March 7, 2019

Hello gals! Today we’re taking a break from mine and Susanne’s Spring collaboration to continue with my 2019 style series, Building a Wardrobe that Works for You. Before we get too far into spring, I thought we better discuss color. So today let’s learn how to choose the colors of your wardrobe.

How to choose the colors of your wardrobe - Building a Wardrobe that Works for You

If you’ve read the first installments of this year’s style series, you know that I have decided to narrow my personal wardrobe down a bit. I’m tired of having a closet full of clothes, but having to overthink how to put them together to create outfits. So my goal for this style series is to help us create a smaller but more functional wardrobe, one that really works.

One of the main ways we can go about streamlining our wardrobe while increasing its functionality is to pare down the number of colors we wear. But how’s a gal to go about that?

#1 – Observe the colors you naturally gravitate toward.

Look through you closet. Do you see a color trend? What colors do you tend to reach for when you shop?

Of course, you may gravitate toward certain colors only because someone you trusted in the past told you to wear those shades, but you don’t actually like them or even feel comfortable or beautiful in them. That’s why you need to reconsider those choices. If you’re happy with them, great. If you realize that you’ve been stocking your closet with certain colors that other people chose for you, you may want to switch those up.

#2 – Think about the colors that garner the most compliments for you.

What colors are you wearing when you receive compliments on your appearance? It’s usually color that brings on the compliments, not style or cut or textures. The colors that cause people to stop and take a second look at you are probably good choices.

#3 – Consider your personal style essence or personality and your lifestyle.

We talked more in detail about style essence or personality here. And I discussed lifestyle and how it affects our wardrobe here. Each of these could help determine the colors you prefer to wear.

For instance, if you’re a laid back gal and enjoy working and spending time outdoors, you may want to stock your closet with more earthy tones or at least the colors you see in nature. But if your personal style essence is distinctly feminine, you may prefer pastels.

#4 – Select your signature colors.

You might have expected me to suggest choosing your neutrals first, but we’ll get to those next. First, after following steps 1-3 it really makes more sense to select your signature colors. These are the colors that you believe will best tell your story. 

These are the colors that:

  • you naturally prefer and reach for.
  • you enjoy wearing.
  • you get compliments in.
  • you love.
  • make you feel like you.
  • make you happy.
  • fit your lifestyle and personal style essence.

I suggest narrowing down your signature colors to 3-6. These colors can change with the seasons or with the trends. It’s really up to you. For instance, you may want to have one set of signature colors for spring and summer and another set for fall and winter.

So far, I have decided that my signature colors, at least for spring and summer, will be pink, green, red and blue. There will be little to no yellow, orange, purple or burgundy in my wardrobe.

# 5 – Consider your skin, hair and eyes.

What about skin, hair and eyes? How do these play into the equation? Your skin tone and undertone are more important when considering the exact shades of the colors you choose. For instance, if you have warm undertones, you may want to wear an orange-red instead of a blue-red. And you may choose peach instead of pink. Or if you have cool undertones, you may get better results wearing brown with a blue undertone instead of brown with a yellow undertone.

But for the most part, you can wear the colors you choose. You’ll just want to be careful of the undertones.

I shared more information about discovering your undertones and how to take them into consideration in this post.

#6 – Select your neutrals.

Once you’ve selected your signature colors you’re ready to choose your neutrals. Think about which neutrals – black, grey, brown, camel, navy, burgundy or olive – work best with the signature colors you’ve selected.

Here are a few other considerations when choosing neutrals:

  • If black looks too stark on you, consider going with grey. It’s softer on aging skin.
  • If you spend a lot of time in blue jeans, you might want navy to be one of your neutrals.
  • You might want to decide whether you’ll mostly wear white or off white. That may influence your choice of your neutrals.
  • Your neutrals will generally be the colors for your wardrobe essentials.

I suggest choosing only two neutrals (besides white or off white) if possible. Usually you’ll find that you can wear most anything in your signature colors with two neutrals, but if you throw a third one in the mix it complicates things.

I’ve decided my neutrals year round will be black and navy. I will mostly wear white instead of off white. However, I’m not getting rid of off white pieces I already own.

#7 – Throw in some accent colors if you desire.

You’re not actually limited to the neutrals and signature colors you’ve chosen. But these will simply make up the bulk of your wardrobe. If you still want to wear the other colors in the rainbow, just use them as accents – maybe in jewelry, shoes, scarves, handbags. You’ll want to choose accent colors that compliment or contrast with your signature colors and work with your neutrals.

For instance, I have a silk scarf that is largely burgundy, pink and brown, but it compliments my pink sweaters well. Also, I enjoy wearing my leopard print shoes and accessories as accent colors.

What are Your Colors?

I’d love to hear if you have decided on the colors of your wardrobe. Are you joining me in narrowing down your wardrobe so that it works for you better? Let me know. And share with us if you’ve decided on your neutrals and signature colors. And of course, let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks so much for visiting Dressed for My Day today. I hope you’ll also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Blessed for My Day

Today may you be blessed with the assurance that God has the whole world in His hands. Remember that song? Maybe you sang it as a child. “He’s got the whole world in His hands!” Today let that assurance make a difference in your perspective.

When you turn on the news, remember,He’s still on His throne. When your day doesn’t go as planned, know that it went according to His plans. When something takes you by surprise and catches you off guard, rest assured that He is not caught off guard. He doesn’t have a plan B. He doesn’t need one. He has the whole world in His loving, capable, kind and good hands.

Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. ~ Isaiah 25:1

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xoxo, Kay
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28 thoughts on “How to Choose the Colors of Your Wardrobe

  1. Hi Kay, I am really enjoying these latest posts. I recently moved to the mountains where I have found my work wardrobe needs to be less formal. Although I enjoy my sassy short boots and nice skirts, I am needing to wear more outdoor wear. Your advice is wonderful as choosing clothes is not my best skill! Thanks so much!

  2. Hi Kay…….Great post! I still wear my best colors most of the time. Long time ago I sold beauty control cosmetics and taught people what colors to wear & did their makeup in their right colors. Now they have added so much to the mix it seems. I was & still am I guess a mix of summer/winter. I can wear winter lighter colors & summer darker colors, I was told my the lady that taught us. Royal blue and pink are my best colors. I am cool. Any shade of blue works basically since I have blue eyes. I use to not like green as people said my eyes changed colors & looked green when I wore. I got over it. I love the Spring green color & lime greens. Thanks for sharing all the tips about coordinating our looks with the right colors. That helped a lot!

    1. Sounds like we are very similar colouring. I too am cool colouring and a mix of winter and summer. I do red in the winter and pinks in the summer. Blue all year ’round, but love cornflower blue. Stayed away from green for years, but am seeing it differently these days. I am using black and grey as my neutrals (and denim of course!). (Still have some brown in my closet to wear out, but not actively buying it any longer)

  3. Good morning Kay! I am definitely going to cull down the colors in my closet, and can’t wait to do it! The two colors that I feel the best in and get the most compliments on, year round, are pink and coral. So they are going to be big in my closet. I still need to decide on my neutrals. I watched your Instastory from yesterday a little bit ago. Thanks for taking us along! This country has so much beauty to explore! Have a great day!

    1. Thanks for sharing Ginger. I watched back over the story and it was pretty helter skelter! But so was the photo shoot, so there ya go! Thanks for watching! ?

  4. I’ve had my colors analyzed a couple of times but finally decided that I should concentrate on those colors. It only takes me 50 years to learn a lesson I guess..LOL.
    but I’m glad I’m finally being smart about it because it does not only make shopping easier but also putting together my outfits easier.
    You’ll get to see today but I’m wearing pink and green, the bright versions and those are definitely my colors!
    PS thanks for the shout-out in the email. I had just added basically the same comment in my email this morning that will go out tomorrow. We are birds of a feather….

    1. And you looked beautiful today! I was thinking about our meet-up all day. It was plum delightful!! You are beautiful inside and out!

  5. Hey Kay
    I have been really working on this since you started talking about signature colours. I had my colours done in the 80s and then redone unofficially with a group of similar age woman (50ish). We wanted to see if things had changed. I am a cool summer. I seem to be less able to wear the pale shades but the compliments come rolling in when in the brighter colours. My signature colours are bright red, pink, blues! I may have an occasional accent of yellow and purple. My skin is “allergic” to orange and most shades of green! LOL. The neutrals are more challenging it is so hard I want gray but many of them don’t work. So I will be sticking to black and navy. Thanks for mentioning that you aren’t getting rid of the other colours if you already own them, but I will be thinking of my signature colours when I shop!

    1. Great!! I love that you are processing all of this. I’m hoping it will make a big difference for all of us ?.

  6. I’m really enjoying this series. I am a true autumn so need warm colours. I wear jeans a lot and have quite a bit of navy in my wardrobe so will make it one of my neutrals. I’m not sure about others yet but also like olive green. Lime green is a colour I really like that looks good on me, I also like mustard and coral, orange and orange toned red. I need deeper colours as pastels wash me out. I love the idea of a closet of clothes that work together.

  7. As a new follower, I’m so enjoying your posts! You’re giving me something to think about, not just photos to look at! I’ve decided (from looking at my closet) my neutrals are black & navy (with some gray) and my signature colors are pink, purple, and red – colors that I love! I have some blue thrown in there as well. You’re right about picking things not in your palette. I bought some olive green pants since everyone seems to say that color goes with everything (but they’re a little on the “too green” side) and I can hardly find things to match them in my huge closet! I also concur with other posts about picking clothes that accentuate your shape. As a slight pear shape, I tend to wear darker things on the bottom and brighter things on top. But sometimes you can break the rules! Today I have on a burgundy skirt and tights, with a black/white cheetah print blouse and long black cardigan. ; )

    1. Oh thanks so much for sharing Anita. I’m glad you are enjoying the post and getting something from them. Your colors sound like wonderful choices. ❤️

  8. Kay, this post is so helpful! Many years ago, I had a “Color Me Beautiful” color analysis done and was told that I was mostly a “Summer”, but could wear certain shades in the “Spring” category as well. When I look in my closet, I see a lot of black. I need to definitely weed out a lot of colors/items that I don’t wear and focus on narrowing my wardrobe down as you have suggested. Thanks for continuing to teach and inspire us to be our best!! You are truly a blessing! God Bless!

    1. I’m glad this was helpful Cathy. I know I am tired of having so many clothes and still feeling stumped about what to wear. Got to put a stop to that! ?

  9. Do you happen to have a worksheet on the site where we can write down our style, color choices, etc and then refer back to that on your site. You could also refer to this and maybe make comments.

    1. I’m not sure I have exactly what you’re talking about. That will have to be a project for when I hire an assistant…hopefully soon. But meanwhile I do have lots of helpful freebies for subscribers along those lines.

  10. I love your information! It is so practical and helpful, thanks,

    During the pandemic, I’ve chosen to let my hair go grey. I have light-toned, warm skin and often wore
    brown or beige. Do you have any recommendations regarding my clothing colors? My grey hair is coming in quite dark!

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions you have!

    1. Hi Gale. It’s hard to say without seeing you. A lot of women enjoy wearing more navy as their hair greys. Have you considered that? And maybe greens would be pretty too. But I would just play around with it. Think about what elicits the most compliments and makes you feel the prettiest. ?

  11. Kay, thank you so much! Yes, I’m trying navy. The greens I usually wear are more olive. That is a great idea to try and then see what elicits compliments! The other responses/suggestions are helpful as well!

    Thank you again,

  12. A friend referred me to your blog, and I’m so glad she did. I have a camel turtleneck that I realize really makes me look warm and alive. I just turned 57, and a lot of my clothes seem to drain my color, but camel seems to help it. If I hear toward camel as a main neutral, what should I focus on adding? Just top pieces or bottoms too? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jana. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog. How wonderful that you discovered that camel works so well for you. Be advised, camel does come in various tones – some warm and some cool. So keep that I mind as you look for the pieces to add to your wardrobe. You may have to play around with it a bit to figure which you prefer. I say add whatever you enjoy. Camel is very in, so camel pants or skirts would be great too. But you could also just stick with camel jackets, sweaters, coats, etc and then use other colors like black, navy or denim below. Also, don’t be afraid to pair camel with white or even grey. Those can look lovely too.

  13. I am choosing light pink, mint green and coral for my accents
    And navy and olive/ khaki and black for neutrals since I already have a lot of black
    Thanks so much